Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 103

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 103 Vows and Rings

October 26th

He’s sitting at his desk in his office, pad of paper in front of him, good pen in hand, and a nice blend of tea that Ducky gave them as a house warming present in a cup next to him.

They moved in four days ago, and this is the only room in the house that’s completely unpacked and ready to go.

Two desks, one with his computer set up, the other, which he’s sitting at now, with his typewriter. His bookshelves didn’t take too long to put back up again, and filling them with books and computer gear took him about an hour.

His workbench ended up exiled to the garage, which he doesn’t mind. It’s kind of nice to have a separate space for his different sets of tools.

The rest of the house is in various levels of unpacked, but this one room is done.

And the reason it’s done is staring him in the face. A piece of almost blank paper sitting in front of him. It’s been almost blank for a long time. And as part of procrastinating on getting it less blank, he got his entire office set up.

He’s got one word written on the top of it: Vows.

Writing your own vows is a brilliant idea, until you’ve got to actually sit your ass down, put pen to paper, and come up with the little bastards. Then it’s suddenly every bad dream you’ve ever had about public speaking wrapped around having to bare your heart to everyone you know.

To make matters worse (and this was something Tim never anticipated biting him in the ass) he’s a writer, so his vows should be smooth, elegant, polished. They should be profound and beautiful, haunting even.

And he’d rather shoot himself in the foot than end up sounding like Palmer, saccharine sweet words that puddle into a mush of Hallmark Card romantic goo.

Even if Abby is the wind beneath his wings (which is true), he sure as hell isn’t about to say it.

Not like that.

So this almost blank piece of paper has been sitting in front of him for months, taunting him with something worse than writer’s block. This is fear that the words won’t do the job, that they can’t be strong enough, beautiful enough. Failure, writ large, about the only phrases that have ever mattered this much to him.

He’s got pages of free writing from this, (mostly variations on the theme: I won’t be my dad, and here’s why.) and even a few bits he likes, but something that works, a draft he can shape further, nope.

He stares at the paper some more, knows inspiration isn’t going to strike right this second and wanders into their bedroom to do some more unpacking.

October 27th

While choosing the wedding rings is not the sole province of the groom, fetching them once they are ready and keeping custody of them until the wedding is.

So, it’s lunchtime and he’s on an errand, time to fetch wedding rings.

With Palmer and Ziva, who are both claiming that it is their duty to go with him and oversee the pickup operation so they may report back to Abby on the suitability of said rings. (She’s in court today. They’ve already testified; he’s scheduled for tomorrow, so he can’t go see her at the courthouse today, while they can.)

Because, you know, the entire six hours between lunch time and both of them getting home for dinner is just too damn long to wait to see them.

The jeweler, not the same one who did the engagement ring, spends a moment looking for his order, and then places a small white box in front of him.

Tim opens it and picks up the rings. Ziva and Palmer looking over his shoulders.

They’re wide for wedding bands, but they’re supposed to be wide, it makes it easier to see the pattern on them.

He doesn’t remember how he found mokume gane metalwork for wedding rings. But he does know that once he saw it that that was right for them. The technique, laminating layers of metal together, and then folding them over and over to produce a finished product that looks like it has a wood grain has been around forever in Japan, but is fairly new in the States.

Their rings are black titanium, steel, and platinum. Mostly black with whorls of gray and brilliant silvery metal.

Ziva and Palmer are standing next to him, looking at them, saying nothing. Tim slips his out, and puts it on, for a second he’s just checking to see if it fits properly, but that fades into the feeling of having it on his hand.
He rolls it around on his ring finger, feeling how right it is there.

“Ziva, can I borrow your hand for a moment?” Ziva’s smaller than Abby is, but her right index finger is pretty close to the same size as Abby’s ring finger.

He puts it on her finger. “Feel good? Fit nicely?”

“Yes, McGee. It’s good.”

He takes it back off and slips it onto his ring finger, though it only goes to the top of his second knuckle. He smiles looking at them.

Putting Abby’s back into the little box wasn’t too hard, but he found himself feeling reluctant to take his off.

Palmer sees it and says, “Saturday. Not too much longer.”


The rings are sitting on top of the piece of paper, right next to what is still the only word he’s got written on it.


He plays with them a little. Slipping hers onto the tip of his index finger, and spinning his. It glints gently as the light hits the little whorls of platinum.

The rings were easy to get made. Black titanium, because they both like it. Because the tats and the wrist cuff are black. Because her engagement ring is black. Because black is them, even if he doesn’t wear as much of it as she does. Steel because it’s hard and strong and useful. Platinum, because it’s bright, shiny, beautiful and rare. 

He knows there’s a language of flowers (even if he doesn’t know how to speak it) and thinks there should be a language of metals. Gold, for classicists and tradition. (Ziva and Tony’s rings, even though they haven’t picked them out yet, will be gold. He’s sure of that.) Silver for purity. Steel for strength. There’s something in him that really likes the symbolism of steel in a wedding ring, because love should be like steel, strong, hard, able to withstand what comes at it, and a good foundation to build on. Titianium for... the future and forever.  Platinum for light made liquid and then frozen into form.

“Hey.” Abby pokes her head into his office.

“Hi. You just get home?” He waves her in. He’s noticed she won’t go in his office without express permission, and though he’s told her she’s always welcome, he also really appreciates that there’s a space in their home that’s his and his alone.

“Yeah.” She comes in as he slides his chair a bit further away from the desk. She sits between his legs and holds out her hand. He puts them in her palm. She slips hers on her ring finger and just stares at it.

He squeezes her, and her head comes to rest on his shoulder.

For a while they just sit there, cuddling. He’s got one arm around her back, but his free hand finds hers, and touches her ring finger, feeling the cool metal on warm skin.

“Put mine on me?”

She looks up and grins at him, wide, happy, eyes bright and shining with tears.

“Are you crying?”

“A little.”

He looks a little disturbed by that. “Good crying?” Crying Abby is a pretty rare thing. Crying happy Abby is… well best of his knowledge this is the first time it’s happened. Part of him wonders, hopes this is the first sign of a pregnancy. And part of his is aware of the fact that this whole getting married thing is pretty damn emotional, too. He knows he’s been feeling everything really intensely these last few days, and doesn’t think it’s going to go away until after the wedding, so there’s no reason she wouldn’t be in a similar boat.

“Oh yeah!” She slips it onto his finger, holding his left hand in hers, looking at the matching rings. “Jimmy and Ziva told me they were beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to get home and see them, try them on, feel it on my finger, see it on yours, and there it is and it just feels so good! I mean, look at them, on us, wedding rings. We’re getting married on Saturday!”

He kisses her. “Yeah. We are.”

She plays with the ring on her finger. “I don’t want to take it off.”

“Me either.”

“Ziva said you needed a crow bar to get it off to take it home.”

He smiles wryly. “It wasn’t quite that bad. Still... What do you say? Go out, elope tonight? Take it off for an hour and then let me put it back on you for the rest of your life?”

She shakes her head, fast. “Oh no. Everyone is getting dressed up and partying with us.”

“We can still do the party.”

“You’re just trying to get out of writing your vows.”  She laughs gently, looking at the remarkably blank piece of paper in front of them.

“It’d probably be easier if it was just the two of us and a Justice of the Peace.”

“No performance anxiety?”

“Something like that. If I get up there and say something stupid, Tony will beat me with it until the day I die.”

“You aren’t going to say anything stupid.”

He shrugs. He’s fairly sure he’s got a well-nigh infinite capacity for embarrassing himself. “How about yours? If I could read them...”

“Uh uh.” She kisses him quickly and smiles. “You get to hear them when we get married. They’re a surprise.” He sighs. “You’ll like them.”

“I’ll love them.”

She looks at him seriously for a moment, and then takes off her ring and his. “We already live together. We’ve been having sex for years. And maybe...” she rests his hand on her belly. “I’d like something to be... I don’t know, different, about getting married. Something new. Something you haven’t seen me do over and over. I want to stand up there and give you something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I want this to be more than just a fancy party.”

He pets her face and nods, understanding that.


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